Iain Dale seeks to silence me with legal threats

People keep bitching at me about long posts, but it’s other people’s bullshit that make things so complicated. Regardless, here I am going to try to keep to the basics and show you why Nadine Dorries and Iain Dale (and others) are having you on. I’m sure Iain Dale or one of his mates will have a go at me if I skip anything important, so let’s crack on, on that basis:

Earlier this year, I ran a series of expos&#233s on self-described ‘terror expert’ Glen Jenvey. He responded with wild conspiracy theories about me (and the PCC) being in league with extremists and accused me of harassment pretty much at every stage that a question turned up that he could not or would not answer. He also falsely accused me of being a convicted paedophile.

Unlike some people who have been defending Nadine Dorries on the basis that wild conspiracy theories should be allowed to roam free, I regarded the latter claim to be serious and actionable, so I made a complaint to the police.

[I wish to make this next point very clear: an investigation resulted and is in progress. There are aspects of that investigation that I cannot or will not speak about at this time, but it is very real, and ongoing. I am not a blogger who issues a dubious complaint/report to a police station and makes out that action is being taken when it is not. But Glen Jevey has done this, and so has Iain Dale. Read on…]

At one stage, I needed to get in direct contact with Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, then widely seen as an ally of Jenvey’s. Messages to his office about Jenvey’s conduct – even the one showing that Jenvey’s accomplice was the brother of a man on Mercer’s executive committee – were not getting through.

I explained the situation to Iain Dale, who knew Patrick Mercer. Iain agreed to take action, then later knowingly left me with the impression that he had contacted Mercer directly and alerted him to Jenvey’s smears, when he had not.

It later turned out that Iain had called Mercer’s office, and not Mercer himself, and then lied about that.

When confronted about this, Iain offered a single pathetic excuse that he insisted remain a secret. He then began to take increasingly desperate measures to avoid discussing the matter in public. For the most part, Iain Dale avoided discussing the matter of his complicating my harassment case… by falsely accusing me of harassment.

On the long weekend of April 11-13, I was in the process of pursuing Iain Dale for his account of his call to Mercer’s office, not just for my own peace of mind but for his input on a police statement that I was preparing.

Further, on the long weekend of April 11-13 Iain Dale was also busy publishing a few smears himself while making unsubstantiated claims that he was a named target of a smear campaign.

The Mail on Sunday was eventually forced to pay “substantial damages” to Tom Watson for a claim made by Iain Dale at this time that Iain now claims to have apologised for immediately and corrected swiftly.

However, his story about when/how he did this has already changed once, and is undermined by his revealing on his own website that he had yet to apologise to Tom Watson very late on the afternoon of the 13th (when he had claimed elsewhere that he had already done so days earlier).

Further, in this very thread where he and others implied that Tom Watson was guilty because he objected to people publishing lies about him (WTF?), Iain Dale deleted many comments from me that sought to challenge him on his persistent smearing of Tom Watson (as well as his ‘helpful’ role in the Jenvey smear, which I considered relevant given his outrage over some smears but not others).

In that same thread, mostly published more than a day after he claimed to have properly addressed/corrected his false claims about Tom Watson, there were at least two comments published by Iain from readers still clearly under the impression that Tom Watson was CCed on the smeargate emails; one at 13:11 (since deleted by the submitter) and one at 14:29 (still live).

But Iain did not publish anything to address or correct comments like this until 16:15, well after the main conversation had taken place and most readers had moved on. But he deleted many comments from me in the interim, and even as late as 6pm, he was deleting comments from me that pointed out; “But Tom didn’t find out about these emails because he wasn’t CCed on them as you claimed.”

I will stress again that Iain has since claimed that this was all an innocent mistake, and he was acting in good faith every step of the way.

It should also be noted here that, at the same time, while she was playing the victim of smears, Nadine Dorries was busy smearing the Prime Minister in much the same way that Iain Dale was smearing Tom Watson (by stating as fact things that she could not even begin to prove).

All of this came to a head when I finally lost my temper with Iain, and he immediately and without warning published a single private email out of context, presented my many attempts to contact him for very good reasons out of context, made a ridiculous claim about my launching a ‘DNS’ attack (on a Blogger.com-hosted weblog, FFS) and published under that multiple false claims about my mental state and, further, many comments alleging my involvement of a number of criminal offences.

I made my specific intentions clear to Iain Dale within an hour, he knew damn well then (even if he didn’t before) that what I described bore no relation to what he had accused me of, but Iain did not correct his post or alert his readers, and some of them went on to undertake acts of revenge against me (for ‘victimising’ poor Iain).

One person was so inspired by Iain’s post that they attempted to repeat Jenvey’s false claims about paedophilia (I have server logs to back this assertion, and would welcome the opportunity to prove/present this in court). Another more serious incident has emerged where Iain’s smears have been merged with Jenvey’s, and I am now falsely (and anonymously) accused of having a long history of mental illness and inventing the ‘paedophile’ smears against me.

[Note – All of these instances have been reported to the police, as will all future instances. You join the pile-on at your own risk.]

Fast forward roughly one month…

At the height of the expenses scandal, The Telegraph issued Nadine Dorries with a standard arse-covering letter asking her to clarify several points about an upcoming article. A major point raised was that it appeared on paper as if she were claiming expenses on a second home when she only appeared to have one.

Dorries went into a self-righteous frenzy, immediately publishing a letter marked ‘PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL’ and making it out to be an interrogation of the kind normally expected* of the Spanish Inquisition. Sadly, in her rush to show her moral superiority, she revealed details suggesting that while it was not her only home, neither was it her ‘second home’ as was required for her to claim expenses against it.

You can read the details here, but from what she has done and what she herself has published, it is clear that Nadine Dorries broke the rules… and I state that as if it were a fact, because it damn well is.

Nadine then went on to claim that the rules governing expenses didn’t apply to her or any other MP (and that MPs were likely to commit suicide, so you really wouldn’t want to press the matter).

Later, just in case those rules did apply to her, she claimed that the ‘second home’ rule as most people understood it didn’t apply in this case anyway.

Also, in the process of diverting attention away from her wrongdoing, Nadine Dorries last week made several accusations that the Telegraph had acted in a self-serving manner over the matter of investigating MPs expenses. She implied in places and claimed in others that they were motivated by profit and/or far-right politics.

On Friday afternoon, she closed all comments on her site, published a further accusation of this nature, and then swanned off for a three-day weekend, fully expecting to get away with this.

The Telegraph instructed lawyers, who contacted Nadine Dorries and the hosts of her website. Dorries was either unable or unwilling to make specific edits to her site at the time, and so her host was forced to stop it from broadcasting.

Iain Dale again disagreed with the use of lawyers, gave the false impression that the Telegraph had somehow ordered the removal of the entire ‘blog’, and even had the audacity to make out that this event was somehow akin to the Usmanov event.

(Yes, the point about ISPs and UK libel law is a valid one, but largely irrelevant here. The Telegraph’s lawyers took entirely reasonable steps in the circumstances, especially in light of the bad faith shown by Dorries. Crucially, they showed no sign of denying Nadine Dorries her right to meet that legal challenge and have her day in court.)

Iain Dale did all of this knowing that he had just issued a legal letter to me that:

a) seeks to manipulate me into a position where I am ‘free’ to write what I like about him on my site, but never allowed to contact him for clarification of any given point or submit comments to his website
b) threatens me with legal action should I dare to continue to pursue Iain Dale over anything in pretty much any way he doesn’t like
c) accuses me of being critical of Nadine Dorries (and others) merely to get at him (see ‘b’)
d) makes an extraordinarily vague accusation of libel, that totally fails to specify what/where that libel might be, or even what it might refer to

Further, what clearly upsets Iain Dale the most is that I would dare to question his conduct and motives as a publisher; essentially the same thing that Nadine Dorries has done to the Barclay Brothers, only with a lot more evidence and a lot less fruitcake

But as Iain Dale would have it, my criticism of the way he misleads his readers is a “gratuitous personal attack”, mostly having “nothing to do with advancing political debate or matter[s] of any public importance”:

1. Who the f**k does he think he is?

2. Scroll up for a bloody good example of my being right about Iain Dale misleading his readers that also shows my concerns to be of significant importance, not just to me but to the public at large.

3. Iain Dale is a rogue publisher, a shameless, malicious liar, and a bloody menace.

4. And he is cordially invited to bring it on:

I am withdrawing all offers made in this letter, as I now regard the terms I offered to be far too generous in the circumstances. Iain Dale is clearly taking the piss and most likely wanting to manoeuvre me into a position where he can continue to do so while gagging me, and I’m not having it.

If Iain Dale is genuinely convinced that he is the victim of harassment, then he should do what any one of us could have done by now; he should walk into a police station, and make a formal complaint. Even if for reasons best known to himself he instead chooses a civil remedy, he should prepare to defend in court the conduct he refuses to discuss in public.

(During the Usmanov event, Iain Dale claimed to be supporting me, but took the opportunity to falsely accuse me of smearing him. Again, he was unable to specify what I may have said that might not be true.)

(*Nobody expects the Sp… oh, bugger.)

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Nadine Dorries is no blogger, and no blogging hero

Nadine Dorries, as it was once put so delicately by Dawn Primarolo:, has recently asserted many things to be facts that are not.

While stating as facts things that are not facts, Nadine Dorries has also – by the account of many credible bloggers and their contributors – refused to allow her claims to be substantially challenged under comments (which she has only just reinstated after this disaster where she also asserted many things to be facts that were not, and responded with the censorship, manipulation and sudden withdrawal of comments).

This is not how a typical blogger behaves, the timing/nature of the dialogue leading up to the removal of her weblog is a major factor in the rights and wrongs of this, and so far we have very little reason to trust the word of Nadine Dorries or almost anyone else in her camp at this stage.

Further, I suspect that Phil Hendren* and Iain Dale might be declaring this to be somehow equal to the Usmanov/Shillings/Fasthosts event a little prematurely, and I for one would like to hear more about the specifics of it from more than one source before I rush to judgement.

Until then, as far as I’m concerned, Nadine Dorries can go stay in London at her own expense.

[Psst! I would also appreciate hearing Iain Dale’s position on his use of legal threats to avoid mere dialogue, let alone any challenge in response to his asserting many things to be facts that are not.]

PS – Yes, I’m aware of the absurd aspect of UK libel law that allows this to happen, just as I’m aware of suicide statistics that might appear to support some of Nadine’s recent assertions. Nadine Dorries and her supporters will take anything they can get at this stage to divert attention away from what she has said about helping herself to a pot of money that she (and, she claims, all MPs) regarded to be theirs by right, regardless of any rules.

UPDATE (24 May) – *’Dizzy’ is upset, so allow me to point out here that (a) it was Iain waving the ‘Usmanov’ name about, and not him, and (b) they most certainly did not collude to deceive; such a thing would be as unthinkable as it is unprecedented. More details are here, but I think these two allies of Dorries could be clearer about what has happened here… and about what has not. It is not fair or accurate, for example, to say something like this:

“The Telegraph deleted Nadine Dorries blog?!” (source)

More to follow. Sunshine first.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement, Tories! Tories! Tories!, UK Libel Law | 3 Comments

Open Letter to Rubinstein Phillips LLP, Solicitors

Please excuse me while I quickly post a response to a letter that just arrived in the post

Open Letter to Rubenstein Phillips LLP, Solicitors

Re: Your client (Iain Dale) and your recent letter

Dear Sirs,

1. I take offence that you would expect me to act in the manner of Nadine Dorries (or your client, for that matter) and publish your CONFIDENTIAL letter immediately and without due warning, cause and/or permission, but feel free to tell your client to make good on his threat to publish that same letter in full himself, as I suspect I may have already repeated parts of your letter by using the words ‘to’, ‘the’ and ‘or’.

2. However, in your letter, your client states many things that simply are not true, and he publishes such claims at his own risk.

3. If your client (an expert blogger) is aware of any libel on my site, he has yet to challenge a single claim that I have made under comments, as is the norm. Let him come forward and identify the alleged libel, or take me to court over it (i.e. instead of discussing it), or shut the hell up.

4. Thank you for confirming that, while he has claimed/implied otherwise elsewhere, Iain Dale has NOT at this time instigated any kind of police investigation against me. I would be interested to know when (and in what context) he issued a ‘report’ to his local police, as the devil is usually in the detail with your client.

5. I needed your client’s input on a police statement being prepared for an investigation that is now in progress. I wished to give an accurate account of an important event that he took part in. Here, I refer you to those sections of the relevant Act that have to do with “preventing or detecting crime” and other reasonable circumstances.

6. Your client was in a position to help prevent a crime, but did not do what he agreed to do, and then lied about it. I needed his full account of the relevant telephone exchange for the statement I was preparing for police at the time, but he then refused to talk about that or anything else. I have already explained this to your client, but instead he persists with false claims/implications that I have made a false allegation against him.

7. Thank you for your kind invitation that I stop contacting Iain Dale of my own free will and without any actual legal compulsion beyond your opinion that an offence has been committed. I will happily pledge to never again telephone or email Iain Dale directly ever, ever, ever – if he removes each and every claim about me on his website that he cannot substantiate (including claims published as comments), agrees not to publish such material again, and further agrees to take more care in comments to the extent of ensuring that all comments published by him are read by him or by a member of his staff (not just for my protection, but for the protection of others).

8. I fully reserve the right to submit comment(s) on any article/comment he publishes about me or involving me on his website, or about anything he claims when he is contributing to any external website.

9. The Iain Dale Fan Club will close up shop at the moment that Iain Dale apologises on his site for repeatedly publishing false claims about me while denying me a right of reply, agrees not to do it again, and re-introduces the ‘Registered Users only’ setting on his Blogger.com-hosted website (he knows why I regard this especially to be a fair expectation). The Iain Dale Fan Club is in no way a DOS attack, and doesn’t even begin to approach the type/scale of DOS attack claimed/imagined by your client. It is instead a perfectly legal braking mechanism that only prevents Iain Dale from cheating in a certain way using comments. If he’s no longer cheating in that way, then the brakes serve no purpose, and I can relax. Simple. Finally, on a personal note, I am greatly amused at any reference to it in a legal letter, but I only earn points if you mention the group by name. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble…?

10. I will even quietly drop the Mercer/call matter to the best of my abilities* if Iain agrees to the above terms. We can leave it at ‘Iain was in a unique position to help someone being smeared as a paedophile and did sod all’, as we have already arrived at and successfully held this position once already, and quite successfully, for years. It’s a downright disgraceful state of affairs, but I know from bitter experience that it is a bearable state of affairs.

11. If Iain Dale seriously believes that I criticise the likes of Nadine Dorries just to get at him, then he’s as confused and delusional as she is.

12. This is only here so your client doesn’t suspect that I went to ’11’ on purpose.


Tim Ireland

(*There is no telling at this stage how relevant Iain’s call/role was and I have little control over what develops during the course of the investigation.)

Comments are open, but do behave. Iain’s lawyers are watching.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 7 Comments

Nadine Dorries: conflicting claims

So first we have this:

Nadine Dorries – Clarification
Posted Thursday, 21 May 2009 at 11:12

I’ve finished going through all my receipts and thought I had better make some things crystal clear:

I do NOT own a home in South Africa.

I do NOT own a home from which I receive a rental income.

And then we have this:

Nadine Dorries’ Register of Members’ Interests
Listed as current as at 20 May 2009

DORRIES, Nadine (Mid Bedfordshire)

8. Land and Property
House in Gloucestershire, from which rental income is received.
Holiday home in South Africa.

Which claim is true? They can’t both be true, surely?

Hat-tip to spotter Chris, who also notes; “(this is) what the MP submitted in November 2005 and which has never been changed”

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 10 Comments

Nadine Dorries: enough rope

The woman who lied her way through ‘smeargate’ is back and at her brass-necked best on the subject of expenses and what may or may not be her ‘second’ home:

Nadine Dorries – Clarification
Posted Thursday, 21 May 2009 at 11:12

The Green Book rules state ‘ if an MPs designated main home is not in either London or the constituency the ACA can be used to buy or rent in either’.

There is no stipulation on nights to be spent in either location.

Erm, sorry? The Green book stipulates that you can only claim in the way Dorries has on a second home, and defines the first home as “(normally) the one where you spend more nights than any other”. It’s pretty clear… unless Dorries is stretching the elasticity of the rule to absurd extremes while blaming Gordon Brown for their fundamental elasticity:

Extract from The Green Book – Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Pensions (820 Kb .PDF) (summary)

3.11.1. Definitions

Main home
When you enter Parliament we will ask you to give the address of your main UK home on form ACA1 for the purposes of ACA and travel entitlements. Members are expected to locate their main homes in the UK. It is your responsibility to tell us if your main home changes. This will remain your main home unless you tell us otherwise. The location of your main home will normally be a matter of fact. If you have more than one home, your main home will normally be the one where you spend more nights than any other. If there is any doubt about which is your main home, please consult the Department of Finance and Administration.

Either way, what is still missing from her non-blog is a clear statement that her Cotswolds residence is her first home, an explanation about the many claims she has published on her non-blog that contradict this latest assertion, and some scrap(s) of evidence to back all of this up. Then we can discuss the extent to which she has managed to break these remarkably elastic rules.

Also, take a look at this dramatic flourish, reminiscent of the dramatic flourish she departed on during the ‘hand of hope’ debacle (as above, the highlight is mine):

The atmosphere in Westminster is unbearable. People are constantly checking to see if others are ok. Everyone fears a suicide. If someone isn’t seen, offices are called and checked.

Oh, spare me.

If I weren’t a gentleman, I’d threaten her with violins.

So what’s it going to be, Nadine; our cash back or transparency?

Lists of irrelevant items count for SFA. Say it clearly and back it with evidence; in which residence do you spend more nights than any other?

(Psst! Nadine! Your stays in London are irrelevant, and every time you bring them up, you raise the question of how/why you stay in London without claiming expenditure.)

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 3 Comments

The Ministry of Rice [contains: GMO Bayer LL62]

It’s no big secret that I’ve a friend or two involved in Greenpeace. I just wanted to say that for the sake of clarity before I also say… that this is an epic campaign video that inspires me greatly (and not just to do better on my own little videos).

Oh Dog, how I love this. I love this so much, I’m immediately pushing down this Dorries whopper, because I want to show this around to everybody I know right now.

[Note – owners of narrower blogs will want to embed this version (while wishing you have my elbow room: optional but inevitable).]

Greenpeace – Ministry of Rice

It’s bloody great, isn’t it? Perfectly pitched. I’m neck deep in other people’s bullshit right now, but totally inspired by this, so it earns the full drill:

Take action: Stand up for your rice! (includes petition that I totally support, and have just signed)

Follow Greenpeace and/or Greenpeace(UK) on Twitter. (Or first join Twitter, then sign up up to follow Greenpeace and/or Greenpeace(UK) on Twitter. (Twitter’s a doddle and an ideal primary or secondary web presence for those who may not have the [whatever] for blogging.)

Read more about Bayer.

And, most importantly… pass it on.

Cheers all.

[Hello, Greenpeace video/marketing/other people who will read this. This is my latest. Drop me a line if there’s any corporate sock-puppeteers to be hunted down, because I take great joy in the sport.]

Posted in Consume! | Comments Off

Smeargate: the incredible account of Nadine Dorries

Iain Dale wasn’t the only person making claims that he could not back with evidence during ‘smeargate’.

Take a look at this partial transcript from Nadine Dorries being interviewed live on Sunrise (SKY News) by Mark Longhurst; this went out at 0906 on 13 April… two days after 11 April, when Iain Dale submitted to the Mail on Sunday a false claim about Tom Watson being CCed on the ‘smeargate’ emails, and claims he found out too late to stop it from going to print:

[The bold highlights are mine. The spotter was Prodicus (hat tip, sir). SKY News advise me that selected soundbites from this interview were rebroadcast throughout the day, but didn’t appear in the later Niall Paterson report from about 2200 on.]

Mark Longhurst: What’s your reaction to what Alan Johnson’s just said?

Nadine Dorries: When you have a surgeon he doesn’t remove part of a tumour, he removes the entire tumour. What we have at the heart of Downing Street is a cancer. We had Damian McBride and next to Damian McBride Tom Watson. And Damian McBride reported directly to the prime minister and took his instructions from the prime minister. An employer is ultimately responsible for the actions of his employee and I think it’s not enough for the prime minister to say Damian McBride has gone. We have the cabinet minister Tom Watson desk to desk with Damian McBride and we had the prime minister who is the boss who issued the instructions. These people worked in one office at the heart of Downing Street. The prime minister has to apologise and he has to take more steps to remove this cancer in the prime minister’s office.

Mark Longhurst: So you don’t accept what the prime minister said that no one else in Downing St had knowledge of these emails?

Nadine Dorries: I know that not to be true. We have the cabinet minister who issued a statement yesterday which left more questions than it answered in the statement. Tom Watson’s desk was right next to McBride’s. I believe he was even mentioned discussing the emails with McBride.

Further on, she had this to say… note that she bases her claims on unsubstantiated claims that she claims were made by other people:

Mark Longhurst: Why were you targeted.. what threat did you think you posed to them?

Nadine Dorries: I’ve no idea. I run a blog, I’m a backbench Conservative MP, I’m female… I’ve no idea.

Mark Longhurst: Is it because you run a blog?

Nadine Dorries: Possibly. I have had emails which have said Downing St are not impressed with some of the things I’ve said about the prime minister on my blog. I can understand that – he is the prime minister of the Labour party and I’m the backbench MP of the Conservative party. That in itself displays a level of control freakery which is quite alarming.

That in itself displays something far more alarming than control freakery (alleged or otherwise).

Nadine Dorries might be able to explain away a little of this as rhetoric, but there are specific claims within her statement that she cannot back with evidence… so how does she get away with making claims like this on live television?

Answer: She had momentum and what was widely seen to be unassailable moral authority on her side at the time.

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that she might have taken unfair advantage of that, possibly to the extent of smearing others while enjoying the role of the innocent victim of smears… and/or that she may have fallen victim to self-important (and self-righteous) fantasies while in the media spotlight.

So… here’s the big question that will decide which of the two should get it in the neck for this one:

– What did Iain Dale tell Nadine Dorries and when did he tell her?

Plus, here are some bonus questions for those who are worried about other stuff that may have whooshed by during the excitement of ‘smeargate':

– Who is the source of these claims about emails which have said “Downing St are not impressed” with some of the things Nadine Dorries has said about the PM on her not-a-blog? Is it the same single source that led Iain Dale to make false claims about Tom Watson? Or is Nadine Dorries merely confused, and imagining that these emails/claims exist?

– If there is a single source, is it Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’), who has yet to produce the killer document he promised on live television months ago proving a Downing Street led conspiracy against Iain Dale specifically?

(No, Iain; this is not the same. Your catch is smaller than your bait. Try again.)

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Iain Dale tells lies about his political enemies

Tom Watson: Press Release

Associated Newspapers Limited, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail, apologised today to Tom Watson MP in a Statement in Open Court read before Mr Justice Eady.

Mr Watson complained of an article by Iain Dale, headed “Smears, glowering henchmen-like the Nixon White House” published in the Mail on Sunday on 12 April 2009 in which it was stated not only that Mr Watson was copied into emails sent by Downing Street press adviser Damian McBride to Derek Draper, but that he “encouraged” them. The emails were reported to have made serious and false allegations about the private lives of a number of Conservative Party MPs in the course of discussing proposals for a new website to be known as “Red Rag”.

As the Court heard today, Associated Newspapers Limited now accepts that these allegations are entirely untrue. In fact, Mr Watson was not copied into any of the emails exchanged between Mr McBride and Mr Draper. As Mr Watson has already publicly made clear, he had no involvement in or knowledge of the “Red Rag” website and he did not condone the content of the emails and, indeed, regarded them as completely inappropriate.

Associated Newspapers Limited has unreservedly withdrawn the allegations, apologised to Mr Watson for the distress the article caused him and his family and has joined in the reading of the Statement in Open Court today. In addition, Associated Newspapers Limited has agreed to pay Mr Watson substantial damages, together with his legal costs.

1. Good. I hope that stings, and fewer people trust his claims as a result.

2. After Iain Dale ‘accidentally’ fed this lie to the Mail on Sunday, he allowed readers of his weblog to remain under the false impression that what he had claimed was true, when it was not . It took him days to add a minor correction to his site, under a single post.

3. To cut a lonnnnnng story short, Iain Dale lied to me about something quite important when I was the victim of harassment, then refused to discuss this (or any other matter) or help me with much-needed input on a police statement. He then sought to stonewall/undermine me by spreading/publishing lies about me. Those lies included multiple false claims of harassment. He has informed at least one person that he has reported me “to the authorities” because I dared to persist when he refused to answer his phone, but he later (accidentally) revealed that this too was a lie. And even if he did wish to file a harassment complaint against me in these circumstances:

Extract from Protection from Harassment Act 1997

(4) It shall be a defence to any action of harassment to show that the course of conduct complained of–

(a) was authorised by, under or by virtue of any enactment or rule of law;

(b) was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime; or

(c) was, in the particular circumstances, reasonable.

4. I’m willing to have my conduct tested in a court of law, but it seems Iain is not in this case. Instead, he is publishing lies about me and issuing false claims and implications that I have broken the law, that I intend to break the law and/or that he has made a valid harassment complaint about me. Further, Iain has had comment moderation switched on for over a month now, meaning that his lies go unchallenged, at least as far as his readers are concerned. I expect that he does all of this with some degree of confidence that I won’t be reaching for lawyers anytime soon.

5. Iain’s lies have prompted at least one copycat action of the paedo-smear harassment against me, which I have also been forced to report. The timing and specifics of this copycat attack leave little doubt about this.

6. A further copycat action has just emerged, and this one builds on Iain Dale’s multiple publications of ugly lies and implications about my motives/status/credibility as a blogger and the state of my mental health.

7. Iain’s actions have also led, in part, to one of his friends at Private Eye joining in the fun, by making misleading claims about our correspondence and the state of my mental health.

8. Iain Dale knows that the relevant claims he has published about me are not true. He is also aware that these claims have led to at least one reprisal, if not two or more*. But he refuses to even discuss the matter.

(*There have been multiple actual-if-pathetic DOS attacks against me, including the submission of my email addresses to every spammer under the sun , the BNP mailing list, etc.)

9. I’m at a loss; how is one supposed to handle a lying manipulative bastard like this without a lawyer?

10. I know the answer to that; I just don’t like it is all.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 1 Comment

ACA: Nadine Dorries has clearly broken the rules

This latest fuss involving the fragrant Nadine Dorries began when the Telegraph wrote to her with a series of queries, including this one:

Land Registry records show that your former family home in ************* was sold in 2007. You have announced publicly that you have separated from your husband. Since then the only address on any of your files is your rented house in Bedford, on which you are claiming ACA. On this basis, we have reason to believe that you only live in one home and are therefore ineligible to claim an allowance for running a second home.

Nadine Dorries responded with more front than substance, but what little substance she did offer appeared to suggest that, while the Telegraph were unaware of another home in the mix, the rented residence in Woburn, Bedford was very much a first home and not a second home:

“On the weekends I have free, and during the recess, I go somewhere else. I am not publishing the address. I gave it to my whip and emailed it to the fees office in 2008. I spend most of the holidays abroad, all of which can be confirmed. My children stay with me when I am in the constituency, where I go my girls go, however, one also lives in London and one is at Uni. This has not always been the case. I now spend my late nights in London. At my own expense. I keep the dogs at the constituency address as I am often there on my own and it confuses them being moved around. When I am not in the constituency, especially during the long summer break, we have a house sitter, at my expense. Again, this can be confirmed. During term time I spend the majority of weekends in the constituency as my job tends to be seven days a week, as detailed above. My youngest daughter has attended a school in Bedford since last September.” – Nadine Dorries (May 15, 2009)

[Apologies here for the permalinks to Dorries’ website, most of which will only work in some browsers.]

Like most of Dorries’ rants, it’s inconsistent and rambling (where she goes her girls go… except when they don’t, which is often), but there’s a clear pattern there of her only staying “somewhere else” during weekends and breaks. That she stays in London on late nights (that may or may not be related to Parliamentary business) at her own expense is neither here nor there; the point is that she has been claiming expenses on the basis that Woburn, Bedford is her second home, when she is describing circumstances where it can only be interpreted as her first (i.e. the abode in which she spends more nights than any other).

Dorries then did a spectacular backflip with this response, again waving her children in our faces while demanding her privacy. In this version of events, she presents her life as some form of Greek tragedy that she bravely faces against the odds and blah blah blah…

“I never wanted my constituents to think that I had another prime responsibility other than Bedfordshire and Parliament; maybe I should have been more open. My daughter was due to start boarding school in September but instead she started at a school in Bedford. At the weekends we go back to the Cotswolds together, or, if I have to work such as this weekend, we stay in Bedfordshire. During the Parliamentary term time, it is unusual for me not to have a constituency engagement. I spend more nights away from my constituency home than I spend in it and I use it for the purpose of my work. I do, however, retain the right to have my daughter, or daughter’s with me depending on who is with me at the time. It may only be a second home, however, it is a home. So, to my constituents and no one else, I am sorry. My crime is that I haven’t owned up to you that I don’t always live here – that I have a private life, which has not always run smoothly.” – Nadine Dorries (May 16, 2009)

… but slipping between the cracks here are some weekends that she spends at her ‘first’ home in the Cotswolds, which she then admits are infrequent for the entire period that ACA applies. She then goes on to say “I spend more nights away from my constituency home than I spend in it,” which cleverly implies that she spends more time in the Cotswolds, without actually saying this. Given her account(s) to date, the time away from Woburn she is referring to here is more likely to refer to stays in London.

To repeat: that she stays in London on late nights (that may or may not be related to Parliamentary business) at her own expense is neither here nor there; the point is that she has been claiming money on the basis that the residence in Woburn, Bedford is her second home, while describing circumstances in which in is her first… and if you don’t believe me, here’s Nadine announcing where her main home is on her own damn website:

Nadine & Family To Settle In Woburn (circa 2005)

Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Beds, and her family are to make their new home in Woburn.

“The decision was very much taken out of my hands by the kids” said Nadine. “They fell in love with the town and it didn’t matter where else we went they kept coming back to Woburn.

As any parent will know, a move is a huge thing especially 3 lively girls. It helps with the process when the children have a big say and feel they an input in to what is happening.

It also makes sense logistically. My constituency office is in Shefford and I am in the House of Commons four nights a week so it is manageable”.

[A tip of the hat to David Titchmarsh over in comments at Craig’s place.]

And here Nadine speaks of her ‘local’ (pub), which is based in Woburn, not “somewhere else” in the Cotswolds:

“In my local last night with friends, The Black Horse in Woburn, it didn’t take long for the conversation to get around to Iraq…” – Nadine Dorries (April 10, 2008)

And her true friends and neighbours? Also from Woburn, and not “somewhere else” in the Cotswolds:

“Last night a true friend and neighbour took me for dinner at the Birch in Woburn…” – Nadine Dorries – (June 7, 2008)

That last one was a weekend, too; one of those weekends that she claims to spend “somewhere else” in the Cotswolds… except when she doesn’t, which is often.

Here she is waking up in Woburn on a Monday, which is kind of hard to do when you fall asleep “somewhere else” in the Cotswolds on a weekend:

“I got the papers at seven and read every one back to front. Sky sent a car for me and I read all the way from Woburn to Islington…” – Nadine Dorries – (Feb 6, 2007)

In these and other entries that are too personal to go into, Dorries repeatedly publishes accounts portraying Woburn as her first/only home and time in the Cotswolds as time away not only from Parliament, but from her family (in the couple of entries on her non-blog that mention the Cotswolds here and here she speaks of being alone – i.e. minus her ‘girls’ – and/or free of distraction).

Further, repeated mentions of her staying in London ‘at her own expense’ seem a bit odd when she appears to be describing circumstances where she is free to claim for that expense, so I think I’m within my rights to suspect that she’s been staying somewhere in or near London that requires little-to-no actual expenditure, and her implication that she’s somehow hair-shirting on this front is a ruse.

Getting back to the Telegraph and a puff-piece from happier times:

Telegraph – The Tories’ Nadine Dorries: Bridget Jones, MP

Working 100-hour weeks and commuting from her “post-divorce bolt-hole” in Woburn to London every day, Dorries says she finds the working mother in politics routine “very difficult”.

Commuting from Woburn to London, you say? Every day, you say? And for that added touch, here’s Nadine telling us that this interview was conducted at her home… not her other home or her holiday home or her constituency outpost:

“The Sunday Telegraph sent a reporter and a photographer to my home yesterday to interview me…” – Nadine Dorries – (Nov 3, 2007)

That same week, Nadine describes BBC Three Counties (which covers Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire and NOT the bloody Cotswolds) as “my local radio station”.

And so it goes on and on and on and on…

So, to summarise:

By her own account, Nadine Dorries’ first/primary home is, and has been for years, in Woburn.

If she now wishes to claim otherwise, she can come over here, bring her damn lawyers with her, and prove that it has been otherwise… throughout the period where she was claiming our money while claiming Woburn was her second home.

Even if she somehow manages this by proving that she’s stayed in the Cotswolds property for more nights than she has spent in the Woburn property (ideally, during/including those periods when Parliament was in session), she can still be described as breaking ACA rules, as she will have volunteered information providing “grounds for a suggestion of misuse of public money” and created an “arrangement which may give rise to an accusation [of] obtaining an immediate benefit or subsidy from public funds”.

Oh, and if she wants to bring stays in London into it, she can first pay back any money she may have falsely claimed against her Woburn residence, and then produce receipts for these overnight stays (where possible/applicable) and claim this money back by the book.

Nadine Dorries has reportedly claimed a total of £65,918 under the Additional Costs Allowance since 2005. At least £18,000 of this is reported to have been claimed against the Woburn residence under second home expenses over the past two years (i.e. including the period she was busily blogging details portraying it as her first home)

While the rules are so extraordinarily elastic as to defy logic, Dorries has clearly broken them; there’s no question about it.

Further, she has responded not with transparency, but a barrage of largely irrelevant emotionally-charged bullshit and insisted that the circumstances in which she has claimed our money is none of our business! WTF?

Well, I’m sorry, but as long as our money is involved, it’s our damn business. If she values her privacy so much, she can return the money; then she can stay where she likes, when she likes, with (almost) anybody she pleases.

So what’s it going to be, Nadine; our cash back or transparency?

Once we’ve settled that, then we can discuss to what extent you have broken the rules and if you’re fit to hold a seat in Parliament.

Extracts from The Green Book – Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Pensions (820 Kb .PDF) (summary)

3.1.1. Scope of allowance
The Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) reimburses Members of Parliament for expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence (referred to below as their main home) for the purpose of performing Parliamentary duties. This excludes expenses that have been incurred for purely personal or political purposes.

3.2.1. Eligibility
You can claim ACA if:
a You have stayed overnight in the UK away from your only or main home, and
b This was for the purpose of performing your Parliamentary duties, and
c You have necessarily incurred additional costs in so doing, and
d You represent a constituency in outer London or outside London.

3.3.1. Principles
You must ensure that arrangements for your ACA claims are above reproach and that there can be no grounds for a suggestion of misuse of public money. Members should bear in mind the need to obtain value for money from accommodation, goods or services funded from the allowances.

You must avoid any arrangement which may give rise to an accusation that you are, or someone close to you is, obtaining an immediate benefit or subsidy from public funds or that public money is being diverted for the benefit of a political organisation.

ACA must not be used to meet the costs of a mortgage or for leasing accommodation from:
* yourself;
* a close business associate or any organisation or company in which you – or a partner or family member – have an interest; or
* a partner or family member.

3.4.1. Location of overnight stays
If your main home is in the constituency, you can claim ACA for overnight stays in London – or in another part of the constituency if reasonably necessary in view of the distance from your only or main home.

3.11.1. Definitions
Main home
When you enter Parliament we will ask you to give the address of your main UK home on form ACA1 for the purposes of ACA and travel entitlements. Members are expected to locate their main homes in the UK. It is your responsibility to tell us if your main home changes. This will remain your main home unless you tell us otherwise. The location of your main home will normally be a matter of fact. If you have more than one home, your main home will normally be the one where you spend more nights than any other. If there is any doubt about which is your main home, please consult the Department of Finance and Administration.

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Nadine Dorries and one or two stays at The Carlton Club

OK, so there’s this place called The Carlton Club where “only persons of full age who support the Conservative Party shall be eligible for membership” and they offer hotel-style accommodation to their members.

From what I can make out from the shouty account of Nadine Dorries (republished in part by the Telegraph), this is what’s going on:

A friend of Nadine’s stayed in one of these hotel-style rooms on New Year’s Eve 2006 after DEFRAUDING THE CLUB BY POSING AS A MEMBER AND FALSELY USING THE NAME ‘MR N DORRIES’!!!

Somehow, most likely through the normal billing channels for members, the invoice for this accommodation wound up in the hands of Nadine Dorries or passing through the office of Nadine Dorries, and HER OFFICE THEN ATTEMPTED TO FRAUDULENTLY PASS THIS EXPENSE ON TO THE TAXPAYER!!!

However, in Nadine’s mind, because the claim was rejected and she personally did not stay in the room, SHE IS TOTALLY INNOCENT AND THE VICTIM OF A WITCH-HUNT! ZOMG!!!

Further, she needn’t answer any questions about a similar bill for holiday accommodation “a few days before Christmas” BECAUSE SHE HAS NEVER STAYED IN A HOTEL ROOM ON NEW YEAR’S EVE, EVAH!!! EVAH EVAH EVAH!!!

I’m sure Nadine’s lawyer’s will correct me if I’m wrong here, but SHE’S FUCKING HAVING US ON, ISN’T SHE?!!!

Posted in Tories! Tories! Tories! | 3 Comments